Beautiful and tranquil the south Indian state of Kerala is the perfect destination for a culinary tour. Browse for spices in the markets and master Keralan classics with local chefs. Experience the flavours of fragrant curries against a backdrop of meandering backwaters, rice paddies, spice plantations and palm-fringed beaches.
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Fly from London to Kochi (Cochin) via Abu Dhabi with Ethiad Airways. (N)
Morning arrival in Kochi, the historic centre of India’s spice trade. Transfer to the Trident Hotel for a 2-night stay. Afternoon tour of Kochi. Visit the Jewish Synagogue and St Francis Church, then continue to Mattancherry Palace, a gift from the Portuguese to the raja of Kochi in the 16th century. This evening, enjoy a welcome seafood dinner. (D)
Join a morning cruise around the busy harbour. Sail past palm fringed villages and coconut plantations. This is also the perfect opportunity to watch the Chinese fishermen as they stand poised with their nets, waiting for the next catch. Later, visit the narrow streets around Fort Cochin and the famed spice market. Join the locals and browse around the stalls. This is the place to barter for cardamom, nutmeg and many of the other exotic spices that this region is known for. Your host this afternoon is Nimmy Paul, a well-known chef in Kochi. Nimmy will demonstrate the basics of Syrian-Christian Keralan cuisine and will teach you how to use traditional cooking equipment and the proper methods of presentation. Dishes on the menu may include lacy rice pancakes and meen mole, a fish dish prepared in coconut milk and fragrant spices. Food is generally served on banana leaves and is eaten with the right hand. Join Nimmy and her family for dinner and dine on the dishes you have prepared. (B, D)
This morning leave Kochi for the drive through the Western Ghats to Thekkady. This beautiful area, located high in the Cardamom Hills, is home to tea gardens, rubber estates and coffee and pepper plantations. Stay for 2 nights at the Cardamom County. (B)
Join an early morning nature walk. With your guide, pass through moist deciduous forests and marshy grasslands. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about local birds, tropical plant life and other wildlife. This afternoon, visit a spice garden and experience the tastes and aroma of a superb array of spices, including vanilla and ginger. The finest pepper is also grown is this area, known locally as ‘black gold'. This evening a cooking demonstration at the hotel will be followed by dinner. (B, D)
This morning, journey through deep green tea bush plantations to a working tea estate. Learn about the various processes involved in production including how tea plants are grown and graded. Enjoy a tea tasting at the conclusion of the visit. Then continue to the backwaters and board a traditional rice barge for a cruise through the narrow canals and waterways where rural life has changed very little over the centuries. All business here is conducted by boat, from the daily delivery of post to the transportation of coconuts and buffaloes. A simple Keralan lunch will be served on board the rice barge. Disembark at Kumarakom for a 2-night stay at the Backwater Ripple. (B, L)
Spend the morning with the family at Philipkutty’s working farm. Set on a beautiful island that was reclaimed from the backwaters organic methods are practised at the farm and produce includes coconuts, nutmeg, bananas and pepper. Jumbo prawns and karimeen are also found in the canals around the farm. Join a cooking demonstration, followed by a lunch of what you have all prepared. Typical dishes may include appam, a rice-based bread, duck curry and vegetable thorans, all served with chutneys. Ask the family at Philipkutty’s farm for their culinary tips. Recipes for some of their dishes have been passed from generation to generation. Return to the hotel and, later in the afternoon, join a sunset cruise on Lake Vembanad. (B, L)
Afternoon transfer to the airport for the flight to London via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways. (B)
Morning arrival in London. (N)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals
Inspired by the vernacular style architecture, Backwater Ripples is set overlooking the expansive Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom. The 34 cottages and suites that are scattered around the 4-hectare coconut grove maintain the traditional Keralan atmosphere. Each of those rooms are spacious, comfortably furnished and overlook either the garden, the pool or the lake. There are two restaurants including a lakeside barbecue, an Ayurvedic centre, outdoor pool and small...
Cardamom County holiday village is set on a hillside against amidst lush greenery with a touch of local flavour and traditional Keralan hospitality. The hotel provides all the facilities for a comfortable stay; thirty beautifully landscaped cottages built using traditional materials, an elegant lobby, swimming pool, multi-cuisine restaurant, Ayurveda health centre and health...
The Trident Cochin is located on Kochi’s Willingdon Island. The hotel’s 96 well-appointed rooms are divided between two floors and facilities include a multi-cuisine restaurant, swimming pool and health...
Regional air connections are available from within the UK. Please contact your travel consultant for current prices from your nearest city.
We can also arrange flights from overseas, simply give us a call to find out more.
If you choose to take the tour without flights arranged through Cox & Kings, please contact one of our travel consultants prior to booking the flights to ensure that you are aware of the tour timings and all the implications of not booking through us. We strongly advise you not to book flights independently of Cox & Kings if significant charges would apply in case of cancellation.
Flight details may be subject to change prior to departure.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
MKE2016: 6 Nights
Kochi (Cochin), overlooking the Arabian Sea and once a strategic port on the spice route...
An island on Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is just 16 km west of Kottayam and only 1 hour 30...
Thekkady is set among the endless green slopes of the Cardamom Hills in the spice-growin...
Travelling across southern India from east to west over the tropical hills of the Western Ghats, this tour showcases the diverse attractions of the region. Highlights include the flamboyant Hindu...
The delicate scent of spices, the sound of temple bells, exotic flora and fauna, and beaches all characterise southern India. This journey travels through colonial hill stations and tropical...